She caters to evvvvvverybody!
She caters to evvvvvverybody!
Photo by Meranda Carter

On the Line: Gretchen Beaumarchais of Honda Center, Part One

It's one thing to serve hundreds of guests per day, but how about thousands in a single night? That's the monumental task Gretchen Beaumarchais prepares for during hockey season and concerts. Amidst cameras setting up for UFC and Ducks skating the pond below, we sat down at Jack Daniel's Old #7 Club to discuss waffle cakes, restaurant recs and her hardworking attitude.

What are six words that describe your food?
Clean, seasonal, straightforward, tasty and delicious.

What are seven words that describe you?
Dedicated, fun, hardworking, passionate, easygoing, stubborn, demanding.

Your best recent food find:

Okazu Ramen House recently opened near my house in Orange, and the tonkatsu shoyu ramen is amazing.

Most undervalued ingredient:
I use fennel in tons of dishes, such as crab cakes and pasta. It has a subtle flavor that I love! The aromatics are incorporated into my mirepoix.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Taste everything. Once the doors open, the small talk stops, and we run a quiet and serious kitchen.

One food you detest.
I don't care for the smell, taste or texture of bananas -- just nothing positive about them!

One food you can't live without:
Anything made from the pig: bacon, ham, pancetta . . .

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Local produce and farmers who love their craft.

What fast food do you admit to eating?
Tacos from Taqueria Mexico. They are open 24 hours, and the tacos are yummy.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Keep it simple and enjoy!

After-work hangout:
My couch.

Favorite celebrity chef:
Wolfgang Puck's food is the cornerstone of modern California cuisine, and that has been a great influence on my career.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
They all have a right to talk. . . . We can choose to not listen.

Favorite music to cook by:
Mana keeps a kitchen happy up until service. Then it's quiet time.

Best food city in America:
Boston is beautiful, full of character and small enough to walk to all the amazing restaurants. Sorellina has the most amazing maccheroncelli (long tube pasta) with Kobe meatballs and Barolo sauce!

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Small, authentic restaurants. There's a few off Bristol in Costa Mesa that I enjoy.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Chain restaurants.

Favorite cookbooks:
Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Relaxing with my husband, Greg, and Buttercup, our English bulldog.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
I was over in Beijing during the Olympics and ate some very interesting things from the night market. I stayed away from bugs on a stick, but did try some meat that was a bit questionable.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Waffle cakes. [Editor's Note: When asked to clarify, we found out that this is Greg's favorite version of pancakes. Basically, if you look on the side of a Bisquick box, there's a recipe for waffles. It's less milk and egg than pancake batter, but they coined the term themselves.] I'm always in the mood for waffles, but too lazy to wait for the waffle iron to heat up.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Coffee and creamer. I make a strong pot every morning.

Weirdest customer request:
We had a guest ask that the whole entrée plate be blended together. We used a robot coupe.

Honda Center is located at 2695 Katella Ave., Anaheim; click here for its website.

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